Thursday, March 05, 2015

Once management decides to fill a vacant position, or create a new position, the HR office is called upon to see if a position description exists. If a position description does not exist or is not accurate for the vacant position, a position description must be completed. Such a description documents the major duties, responsibilities, and organizational relationships of a job and includes, among others, the knowledge required for the position, supervisory controls, complexity and nature of the assignment, and the scope and effect of the work.

Once the job description is complete, the job is classified by matching the duties and responsibilities to the General Schedule requirements. The Classification Act of 1949 provides a plan for classifying positions and sets out 15 grade levels. The law expresses these grade levels in terms of the difficulty and level of responsibility for a specific position. OPM develops standards that must be consistent with the principles in the Classification Act of 1949. The classification system categorizes jobs or positions according to the kind of work done, the level of difficulty and responsibility, and the qualifications required for the position, and serves as a building block to determine the pay for the position.

Today’s knowledge-based organizations’ jobs require a much broader array of tasks that may cross over the narrow and rigid boundaries of job classification standards and make it difficult to fit the job appropriately into one of the over 400 occupations. According to a recent OPM study, a key problem with classification is that, under present rules, characteristics such as workload, quality of work, and results are not classification factors.

federal job classification standards, which are set forth in the Classification Act of 1949,  5 U.S.C. § 5101-5115

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